Crunch Time

Riding The Final Mile To Squaw Valley

Riding The Final Mile To Squaw Valley

Time runs very short these days. So much going on at once. Work has kept me very busy during the week with some accounts going live. Tuesday night left work around 6 PM, ran to meet Nicole and Dylan for a quick bite to eat then back at work from 8 PM till midnight. Throw in some late night coding and you can see the picture.

Last weekend we drove down to LA on Saturday for the LA Marathon. We drove out to the beach on Sunday afternoon but Dylan was not sure what to make of the sand, ocean and all the people. Monday morning, I paced the 3:10 group. Here’s my GPS report from the marathon: Had a good size group with me but it started to thin as we reached mile 20. Had one runner push on ahead and a couple fall back. The course is a city marathon and there are some sparse sections late in the course. No more marathons until well after RAAM and I’m glad to focus mainly on the bike for the next couple weeks.

Not much riding during the week as we haven’t been home very much the past couple weeks but did an epic ride today from Auburn to Lake Tahoe. I headed out this morning after 7 AM and rode over to Placerville through Georgetown.

No Hands Bridge

No Hands Bridge

In Placerville I headed out to Diamond Springs along Highway 49 then headed East towards the Sierras along Pleasant Valley Road. This was my least favorite section of the ride as there seemed to be a lot of traffic the first 5 or 6 miles. Stopped for a Dr. Pepper in Pleasant Valley and took Sky Park Road to Jenkinson Lake. I had downloaded the route from Google and at Pleasant Valley and Google was adamant about taking a right. I took the right and pulled out my route sheet and someone in a truck asked if I needed directions. I said I just wanted to make sure I’m heading in the right direction and the guys says “No, you want to take THAT road, pointing in the other direction.” I asked, “Are you sure? I’m heading to Kirkwood and need to connect to Highway 88.” “Kirkwood! You’ve got a long way to go.” And he said take the OTHER road. “OK.” And I pedaled off. The OTHER road seemed to climb the entire way to Jenkinson Lake. In fact, most of the day I seemed to be climbing. 20,000 feet in all. At the lake I turned onto Mormon Emmigrant Road, took a break by the shore, checked in with Nicole and splashed some water on my head. I had one water bottle and about 31 miles to go until the next store.

Jenkinson Lake

Jenkinson Lake

I would not recommend riding Mormon Emmigrant Trail in the winter. Warning signs are posted everywhere that the road is not plowed or maintained in the winter. It is not the type of place to have an emergency. The entire road was one long and steady climb, reaching to about 6,500 feet. A few cyclists screamed downhill in the other direction. I should have followed their lead because a few miles from Highway 88, the skies darkened and I was in trouble. All of a sudden the thunder, lightning and rain came. Lightning flashed overhead. I pulled over and sat on the side of the road against a ditch hoping it would pass. Soon it started to pour. I was not prepared for this! Pretty soon a car came by and pulled over asking if I needed a ride. I said if you could just drive me past the lightning that would be great. So Kristy and Richard, students from Davis and out for hike, let me pile in and drove me a few miles through the storm and to Highway 88. At this point, it was hailing so hard it looked like snow. But in a few minutes, it was just raining and no lightning so I said thank you, unloaded my bike and continued towards Kirkwood. Before reaching Kirkwood, the rain stopped just as I reached Silver Lake.

Snow in May

This was a beautiful part of the ride but so cold as elevation reached 7,800 feet.

Silver Lake

Silver Lake

Finally arrived at Kirkwood and there was not a single store/gas station on Highway 88 open and my water bottle was dry. So I rode into the ski resort and found a General Store about a mile or two off the highway. Enjoyed the respite then headed up and over Carson Pass. More climbing to 8,500 feet and the top of Carson Pass. Then enjoyed the nice downhill to the Highway 89 intersection and took Highway 89 towards Lake Tahoe, about 20 miles away. Another climb up Meyers Grade and then a pretty fast descent and ride into Lake Tahoe. It was almost 4:30 PM and so I stopped at Starbucks for a turkey sandwich and cup of coffee to warm up. Another 35 miles or so to go until I would meet Nicole and Dylan at Squaw Valley at 7 PM. I couldn’t believe how long it took me to ride this far, only about 115 miles and it took most of the day!

I followed Highway 89 around the lake and stopped at Emerald Bay for a couple of pictures.

Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay

Highway 89 leads you into Tahoe City then heads towards Truckee, passing right by Squaw Valley. So that’s where I meet Nicole and Dylan at 7 PM and ended my ride. Great ride. Most sections were very bike friendly, just a few you need to watch your line. Here’s the GPS report of the ride:

Will try to get a good night’s sleep and back on the bike tomorrow. Oh, it’s great just to relax on the weekends!


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